End Energy Poverty -- media caption

The European Socialists and Democrats believe that the issue of rising energy poverty requires greater attention from all legislators.

For instance, the Energy Package does not include an ambitious action plan for tackling energy poverty.

The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament has written a manifesto on this topic, which you can read here.

S&D Manifesto Fighting Energy Poverty

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What do we mean by energy poverty?

At present, there is no common European definition of energy poverty, which makes it hard to understand the problem. We have therefore proposed a definition that will clarify the issues and help focus attention on finding the solutions:

"Energy is essential and access to energy services is a basic social right. Energy poverty is the inability of a household to support an adequate level of energy supply so as to guarantee basic levels of comfort and health, due to a combination of low income, high energy prices and low-quality, poorly performing housing stock."

What are the causes of energy poverty?
  • Poor housing conditions, including costly and inefficient types of heating and poor energy performance in low-quality houses and apartments
  • People's individual circumstances, such as low incomes, poor health and disabilities or a lack of access to tailored energy offers or online services
  • High energy prices
  • Aggressive marketing and unfair commercial practices
  • Government decisions on taxes, VAT, levies and network charges
Our solutions

Eradicating energy poverty is crucial if we want to live in a European Union we can be proud of, built on the fundamental principles of solidarity and equality.

Therefore, we want:

  • No more disconnections for citizens who can't pay their gas and electricity bills – especially at crucial times such as cold winters.
  • Automatic social tariffs for low-income and vulnerable citizens to ensure their energy bills are affordable.
  • Automatic comparisons to be included on energy bills so citizens can see if they are paying too much and could get a better deal with a different supplier.
  • Investment in improving energy efficiency so housing can be renovated – for free where possible – for low-income citizens.
  • Local authorities to set up information points, helping citizens get together in co-operatives and get energy discounts.
  • Strict limits on taxes and charges on energy bills for households that are struggling to pay their energy bills.
  • All current and future European funds to include criteria on energy-efficiency measures.
  • Independent companies to carry out energy-efficiency work to avoid a conflict of interest where energy suppliers benefit from higher energy usage.
  • The European Commission to establish best-practice sharing to encourage new ways of dealing with energy poverty.
  • Standardised EU-wide data collection for energy poverty and national schemes to make sure that assistance for energy-poor citizens is monitored and used as efficiently as possible
What will we gain?
  • We can all be proud to know that no one in Europe is denied the basic right to the energy they need
  • European citizens will no longer get excessive energy bills
  • Improved health for vulnerable citizens
  • Greater efficiency and cleaner, more sustainable energy solutions which benefit us all
  • Sharing best practices will help countries work together to end energy poverty

So there's everything to gain for us all! We will be working hard to put these ideas into practice over the coming months and years – at every opportunity.

We're now putting pressure on the Commission to put these ideas into the new Energy efficiency and Energy performance of buildings directives coming up in the autumn. And our MEPs are also working on a New deal for energy consumers which will address many of the problems European consumers face.

Follow our progress on Facebook and Twitter to support our work – together we can #EndEnergyPoverty!

Related links

Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers
Het vergeten probleem van de overgang naar schone energie: armoede

Press releases

Communiqué de presse
Les S&D établissent une feuille de route pour des logements et des rénovations abordables – à présent, à la Commission d’agir
Communiqué de presse
Les S&D veulent pour l’UE des bâtiments abordables, verts et efficaces
Communiqué de presse
Dans le cadre de la réforme du marché de l’électricité de l'UE, les S&D réclament la durabilité et des prix abordables

Related publications

Position paper
S&D position on the Renovation Wave strategy: win win win for climate, jobs and better quality of living for all
Lutter Contre la Précarité Énergétique – Manifeste du S&D